We’ve had a slew of deaths in the past year, not least the kids birth mum, but I’ve yet to write about that.
This week, we said goodbye to Holly, and it was by far, the toughest death we’ve had.
I know some will think that it’s only a dog, but for those who’ve had dogs, you’ll know, it’s like having another child in the family.
When she arrived, I was a childless and infertile woman, who had no prospects of future children.
She became my little baby, as she picked me when we went to see the dogs available from a local farm. She kept me company through IVF and the adoption process, and she welcomed the kids with open paws. Ok, she hid for the noisy spells, but she quickly became attached to two little boys.
When the boys arrived, a decade ago, it was tough going, but the dog showed them so much love, that they bonded with her quickly.
I’d often wonder where the little one had disappeared to, then found him curled up and fast asleep, cuddled into her stomach.
The middle one spent a lot of his day banging his head on the wall, and most of his evenings screaming. She nudged and cajoled him, until his arms went round her neck, and their bond stayed close for the rest of her life.
When she went blind at 7, the tables were turned, and he became her eyes in the garden, until she got used to getting about on her own.
Here’s how she coped as a blind dog.
For 13.5 years, she’s been my baby, so it was a hard loss for us all. Being a large dog, the actual process of putting her to sleep was quite traumatic, and much more involved than when we had to do the same for our cat. She died on the 28th October, the same day as the kids grandfather a year ago.
Our last picture of her, two days before she died, smiling as usual. Helping her on her way, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life.
Here’s an old poem I wrote about her, now amended as she’s gone.
Ma Bonnie Yellow Lab
Ye wir bonnie n bricht wi yer licht glossy coat
Ye’d nowt tae say fan ye wir in yer bed, but ootside, yer bark fared well
Ye began to feel auld n sad, when ye teeted oot of yer paws
Them auld grey een, with now tae see nae mair
The dogs o yer youth, wir ower the hill, or gone
All braw pups, eence loupin n floppin
Spinnin in tae mud, an treadin thru water
Free wi the birds an chasin roon hares
Oor dreams come tae mend us, an ye’d see thru yer heid
Wi shut een, ye’d see clear, an yer limbs strode the air
As yer een and yer nose twitched, yer ears lifted up high
An a whisper of dinner, broucht ye richt tae ma heel
Settin doon on the grun, like the twa auld wifies we wir
Ah minded hoo we were, an grinned frae afar
Ye wir nae ready tae go, an ah wis nae ready tae lose ye
We’d mair tae share, an ye’d nae had yer fill
But pain came tae bind ye, tho ye’d niver show it
Yer legs struggled tae stan, and yer eyes wir richt sad
But ye still loved a cuddle, an a birl roon the streets
Then thon cancer returned, an ye focht till the end
Ah’ve loved ye sin the day ah bocht ye
An ah’ll niver forget just a that ye gave me
Withoot a doot, a heart sae grand
My bonnie yellow lab, wi a retrievers nose
Ye’ll be in ma dreams
Till ma last day of sleep
An we’ll baith race tae that river
Eence mair tae the breen